Posts Tagged ‘pasties’

bye-bye beach

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

It’s Tuesday.

    These pictures are from last Wednesday, because last Wednesday is that last time I had internet access.

    That’s how the Upper Peninsula of Michigan rolls.

    There are four things one can do while on vacation without violating Emma’s Law of Vacay.

    • Eat.
    • Rest (this includes sleeping at night, napping during the day, and laying around staring at the water).
    • Talk (loved ones, strangers, everyone in between – go for it).
    • Read.

    On Wednesday I had a day packed full of all of the above. Every single relative of Crockett’s, on meeting me, shoved books into my hands. I left the house last week with three, read two in the airports and planes, and arrived home with 10 – the original three, two from his grandparents, one from his dad, two from his uncle, and two from his aunt.

    That’s a lotta books.

    Oh, I forgot something you’re allowed to do on vacation: CELEBRATE! Crockett has two nieces and three nephews, and two of the five have the same birthday. (Is this a really number heavy post? It’s all those books.)

    When we visited the Escanaba park, I zoomed over to the stand I’d seen while running the day before.

    Gram’s Pasties in the Park.

    PASTIES in the PARK, people.

    This? This is a pasty. Pasties are all over the damn place in Michigan. Like, ALL over. I actually knew what one was, theoretically. My understanding was that pasties were essentially meat turnovers for British working people – an old school Lunchable, basically. A traditional Cornish pasty is made from beef, swede (a sweet root), potatoes, and onions. In the UP, the swede is replaced by rutabaga, and you can order your pasty with or without said rutabaga.

    Everyone said use a LOT of ketchup…

    And then sat around watching me take a bite.

    I didn’t adore it. It was a tasty vehicle for the ketchup, but that’s about it. However, the local experts told me that it wasn’t a good sample – I really needed to wait until the church ladies did their thing. Hopefully when that happens, Crockett’s grandma (behind me offering lots of advice on the eating) will mail me one?

    Fortunately we had pizza:

    (Domino’s Pizza started in Michigan, so this totally counts as eating local).

    I had a slice of buffalo chicken pizza that may have permanently altered how I think about Dominos. It was that good, people.

    Also? Cake:

    I didn’t get a picture before it was sliced, but since it was for a birthday boy and a birthday girl who were three years apart in age, they went with the adorable and always relevant surfing Mickey and Minnie. So cute. Soooo much frosting.

    After dinner there was a free concert in the park. Every Wednesday the town band does what, based on my experience, seems to be whole bunch of awesome cover medleys.

    Escanaba is a happening town full of happening people.

    After the show, we headed back to our beachside motel to get ready for an early start on Thurs – the start of Reunion 2.0.



    strawberries and lamb

    Thursday, February 10th, 2011

    I find the grocery store calming. Even when I’m busy as all hell, I love to go in and see what’s new or really, just look at the food.

    I like looking at food.

    Yesterday, after showing my house but before driving to school for a presentation (that went super well), I stopped by the store and found strawberries. They’re probably from Mexico. Or Guatemala. Or Mars. But I had some for lunch, and they are SO good. Those Martians know what’s up. The strawberries shamed the hell out of the grapes.

    I was feeing colorful. So I had salad, with my grapes and strawberries.

    Aren’t the antioxidants just jumping off the screen at you?

    Someone who used to live in this house (roommate, Crockett’s family, who knows) left behind a box of mate. So I drank some.

    Crockett missed the black bean burgers on Tuesday night, so he busted one out for a sandwich yesterday for lunch. Cold. I can’t imagine it was super delish, but he said it was tasty. Trust him or not – I leave this decision entirely up to you.

    He is getting a cold, though. Keep that in mind.

    After lunch we made an avocado person.

    I wasn’t lying when I said I was busy yesterday.

    It’s just that sometimes you have to take the time to make avocado people.

    The avocado people judge you if you don’t.

    For dinner I busted out one of my favorite yet most rarely used cookbooks. I travelled to Turkey when I was an undergraduate, and this book has all of the recipes I spent several years trying to track down. Little spicy pizzas and savory cheese pastries… and lamb pie.

    Of course, I didn’t have all the correct ingredients for Ms. Roden’s lamb pie, so I improvised.

    Cinnamon Pastie Casserole (adapted from Puff Pastry Meat Pies with Raisins and Pine Nuts, Arabesque)

    1 large onion, chopped
    4 tablespoons lightly flavored olive oil, separated
    1 pound ground lamb (or beef, if you want)
    3/4 tsp salt
    10 grinds black pepper
    3/4 teaspoon allspice
    3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 cup chopped almonds
    1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (I used an anti-oxidant blend that had prunes, blueberries, and cherries)
    1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
    8 sheets fillo dough

    Heat the oven to 350. Fry up the onion with half the olive oil, until it’s soft and starting to color. Add the fruit, salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon, and then cook on medium low for eight to ten more minutes. You can mostly ignore it during this part, just stir it every so often. Add the lamb and cook, breaking it up into crumbles until there’s no remaining pink.

    In the meantime, use some of the remaining oil to grease an 8 x 8 baking dish, and layer in two sheets of fillo. (They’ll hang over the edge, that’s ok.) Brush them with oil. (You may need more than the two tablespoons you have left, use your judgement – you don’t want it to be greasy though.) Put in two more, perpendicular to the first two, and brush again.

    When the lamb is all cooked, take the pan off the heat and stir in the parsley and almonds. Dump the filling into the casserole dish, and put tow more sheets of fillo on top. Oil them, add two more, oil them, and then fold all the edges in on top.

    Bake for between 25 and 40 minutes. Since the filling is cooked, you’re giving it time to get all meldy and for the fillo to brown. Take it out when you find that brown appropriately tasty looking. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then eat.

    The onions with the spices and fruit.

    All the filling ingredients. This is what the fully cooked lamb looks like.

    All wrapped and ready for the oven.

    Crockett called this the parchment stage. It’s flaky and delicious. If you take it much past this stage, your filling will probably start drying out, so this is a good color to look for.

    I served it with strawberry feta salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

    It was delicious. Regular rotation (cept probably not with the lamb – I might actually see if I can sub something non-animal. Mushrooms and zucchini, maybe?). Try it, y’all, you’ll like it.